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The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Canons) Paperback – 18 Aug 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Canons; Main - Canons Imprint Re-issue edition (18 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857861832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857861832
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 13.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain" (Guardian)

"Most works of mountain literature are written by men, and most of them focus on the goal of the summit. Nan Shepherd's aimless, sensual exploration of the Cairngorms is bracingly different" (Robert Macfarlane)

Book Description

Introduced by Robert Macfarlane

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Emily on 7 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
if you've reached the point of near boredom with the thousands of macho books of near death, tragedy and successful climbs which are typical of biographies and novels of the mountains, then you will find this a breath a fresh air.
Nan's use of language is poetic and beautifully visual and completely different from anything you will usually read about living and enjoying the mountains.

This is a must read for anyone who loves the Cairngorms, Scotland, or mountains in general. But if you simply have a love of beautiful language then you will find this a perfect introduction to the wilderness.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
For those who love the mountains for the emotional, spiritual and inspirational nourishment that they provide, then this book expresses it all in a very personal relationship with the mountains written in both poetic and philosophical prose. Beautifully written avoiding all the usual action, disaster and/or heroics associated with mountain stories.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Living Mountain is Nan Shepherd's love song to The Cairngorms. Many (probably most) books about mountains are written to show man (and it normally is men) on or against mountains. This book is different. This book places the author with the mountains.

This is an intimate and detailed study of the Cairngorms that focuses far more on rivers and light, the freezing of streams and the disorientation of mist, than it does does peaks or particular journeys. In this way the book seems directionless, but only if direction is defined in a geographical fashion. If the direction of travel relates to a journey of understanding then the book is not directionless at all, and charts the authors growing knowledge of the mountains.

If you are looking for a book full of daring deeds and heroic ascents, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a thoughtful account of how people build an emotional connection to a place and how individual aspects of that place can combine to form wonder, then you should read this book.

Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Woodpecker on 14 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is the most incredibly beautiful evocation of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. It is like reading poetry. I was living in Aberdeen in the seventies when it was published, and read it then, and like the author I walked and camped for days on my own in the Cairngorms and came to love their special qualities of light and space, spareness and harsh wild beauty. I met the author once, and was struck by her blue eyes full of the distance. She spoke so lovingly of the hills, and so descriptively. What a pity this wonderful book is no longer in print. It deserves to be. I read an article by Robert Macfarlane about it in a newspaper recently. He has discovered it, and I so wish many more people could do so too. We need wildness for our souls.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Couttsie on 11 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers, this short book has had real a affect on me.

Although, as the title suggests, its about mountains, (and is specifically about the Cairngorms), more fundamentally it is about nature and our human relationship with nature. For this reason I think anyone interested in nature could get something from it.

I always thought I was quite aware of nature, wildlife, light etc. I spend a lot of time outside, walking, cycling, watching wildlife. But this book made me realise I'd hardly even begun to look or listen. I don't even know my own back garden as well as Nan Shepherd got to know a mountain range!

Its also so refreshing to read a book about mountainsthat doesn't involve 'conquering' them. There are a few amazing wildlife experiences described but mostly she opens our eyes and our minds to the beauty in the ordinary - things we could all see every day if only we took the time to see them.

It has become one of my favourite books ever and I have alreday re-read parts.
My copy had a rather long winded introduction by Robert MacFarlane. Nan speaks very well for herself without the need for this!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Newton on 15 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply a perfect piece of literature. It is compelling, magical, mesmerising, and an absolute pleasure to read. Read this because you love nature, or the moutains, or read it simply because it is a brilliant piece of writing. If I had to get rid of most of my books and could only keep a handful, this book would be in that handful - because it is also a text to return to time and again.

Once again finding a book by chance in a good bookshop has proven the way to find unexpected gems
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Burt on 31 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nan Shepherd's little book captures the essence of mountains and their lure for those of us who love them in a way I have never experienced in any other book. She is not interested in conquering mountains, but rather in knowing them intimately. She has an incriedible eye for detail, and many times I found myself thinking that she had found the perfect expression for my own mountain experiences. My only criticism is of the introduction. The contextual background to Nan's life is useful, but the exposition of the text is unnecessary as it speaks so eloquently for itself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By fin monteith on 26 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the finest work about hills and nature that i have read. this slim volume is essential reading for all who venture into, and wish to be part of, nature and landscape. anyone who reads this will look differently at their surroundings on their next trip into mountain, plateau, glen or the wilderness.
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